E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


Three Strikes and You're Out!

(Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- According to Harvey Joe Sanner of Des Arc, Ark., an original named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in 1989, "The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) finally lost its thirteen year battle to deny soybean farmers their day in court." After the CBOT imposed an "emergency resolution" that drove major soybean buyers from the market and sent prices plummeting, Sanner and five other soybean farmers filed the suit in 1989 on behalf of all American soybean producers.

A jury was seated last week (Sept. 17) in Federal District Court in Chicago and has heard the opening statements of both parties, as well as other witnesses. Immediately before the jury was selected, the CBOT asked Federal Judge Wayne R. Andersen to further delay the trial. He rejected the motion stating that the farmers deserved a trial.

The CBOT also filed a motion with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to restrict the size of the class represented in the lawsuit. In desperation, the CBOT then asked that the Court of Appeals grant a last minute "stay" that would have halted the trial. The appellate court rejected both of these motions. Sanner declared, "If the CBOT had to play by the same rules that govern baseball games and common criminals, it would be out of the game because it has failed the three-strikes-and-you're-out rule."

In the CBOT's opening statement to the jury, Mr. Garrett Johnson stated that it did "rescue" the short sellers in the market who were pressuring the board to take action against the Ferruzzi Company, which was buying soybeans and soybean futures contracts. He said that the CBOT had to protect the market. But as Sanner pointed out, "Evidently, Mr. Johnson doesn't realize that every soybean farmer in America was long in the market because they had 1988 crop beans to sell and/or the 1989 crop growing in the field.

The Des Arc soybean farmer continued to say that the most outlandish statement he has heard from legal counsel for the CBOT is that no farmer was harmed in 1989, adding, "It is impossible to put in place a publicly announced emergency order with the marketing disruptive force it carried without it impacting all longs, whether they be in the cash market or futures market. Mr. Johnson should realize that the CBOT has already lost its argument that farmers did not have standing to sue the board because they deal in the cash market versus the futures market. The courts have ruled that those markets are intertwined so that when an action harms one, it also harms the other."

As the trial on South Dearborn Street in Chicago begins it second week, Sanner concluded, "We expect further proof of market manipulation to be presented. Currently, the class members were those farmers who sold soybeans from July 11 to July 31, 1989. It is my wish that the evidence presented will warrant all farmers to be considered in the class. This particular manipulation by the CBOT knows no dates or boundaries. Notes from meetings of CBOT officials reveal that someone suggested that they 'punish' the longs, and since farmers are natural longs, it's plain to see that all soybean growers took a beating."